Getting married is a huge decision not to be taken lightly, and a wedding can take months of planning. Sometimes, however, eloping and tying the knot quickly is the best plan. There are a number of ways to do it, but eloping abroad can add an extra flair of adventure to your elopement.
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Find out what countries you can elope in. Most countries that allow open travel to United States citizens from abroad will be able to marry you legally and in a way that will be recognised once you are back in the states. For specific details about what local marriage laws are and how they would apply to you, visit the embassy of the country you are going to visit beforehand. They will be able to give you information and paperwork that will detail how the marriage laws will affect your plans.
Determine who can marry you. The only people who can marry you in a foreign country are civil or religious officials. An employee of the consulate or a diplomat cannot marry you. If you have a relationship with an official in the country you are visiting, then have them perform the ceremony. If not, visit the local church, synagogue or mosque to find out if they have clergy that will be able to assist you. There may be a fee or donation involved.
Have the proper requirements fulfilled. In addition to having a passport, you must also have birth certificates for each of you. If you have been married before, you must also have copies of divorce decrees and/or death certificates for the deceased ex-spouse. Many countries require blood tests to be done, also. You may need to have your paperwork authenticated by a United States consulate employee.
Address additional concerns to your Attorney General. Any grey areas that you encounter, when speaking to either the embassy of the country you wish to be married in, or the American consulate abroad, should be addressed to your state's Attorney General's office. They will have the definitive answer on any and all validity questions, as far as the marriage is concerned in the state where you live.